England defender Lotte Wubben-Moy says she will not watch the 2022 men’s World Cup because it is in Qatar.
Qatar has been criticized for its stance on same-sex relationships, its human rights record and its treatment of migrant workers.
“It’s tough. We all have strong values as an England team,” said 23-year-old Wubben-Moy, a member of England’s victorious Euro 2022 Women’s squad.
“Many of these values are not reflected in the way we see them in Qatar.”
The World Cup starts on November 20th and will last until December 18th.
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, which is considered immoral under Islamic Sharia law with penalties ranging from fines to the death penalty.
The host country’s World Cup organizers have declared that “everyone is welcome” to visit the country to watch football matches and claim that no one will be discriminated against.
However, Qatar 2022 CEO Nasser al Khater said the government would not change laws on homosexuality, and urged visitors to “respect our culture”.
England captain Harry Kane, along with the captains of nine other European teams, will wear ‘One Love’ armbands to protest Qatar’s anti-gay laws.
“I think it’s a tough conversation and there’s a lot of conversation around it,” added Wubben-Moy.
“I personally will support the men’s team, but I won’t watch it. I think it’s difficult to talk about. But at the end of the day, we’re a team here in England and we know they have a chance. To play a World Cup.
“It’s hard to really look beyond that.”
FIFA recently wrote to the competing nations Asking them to “focus on football now” instead of controversial promotion of the competition.
FIFA’s letter was criticized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and LGBTQ+ campaigners in England and Wales, while 10 European football associations – including England and Wales – said “human rights are universal and apply everywhere”.
However, Conmebol, South America’s soccer confederation, He says that it is “time to leave the controversies behind”.
Wubben-Moy said: “Sport is a very powerful tool for change.
“To underestimate that would be naïve, I think. I’ve seen a lot of players have strong points of view and I respect them and I wish them the best in expressing that during this World Cup.
“It’s a World Cup and, for a lot of these players, they may never play in a World Cup, so I can’t comment on the choice to go because a lot of people would take that option as well.
“But I think sport is very powerful for change and any way they can use this opportunity to help bring about change, I think that’s important.”